Table of Contents
PART I: Snow in Srinagar 
  Reaching Srinagar
  The city of fame
  Rainy afternoon in ...
  Up the Sindh river in a doonga
  Snow in Srinagar
  Chilai Kalan
  Crossing the Vitasta
  Journey into the Himalayas
  Ishbar evenings
  Pony ride in the Liddar valley
  Views of Haramukh
  My father in Hawaii
PART II: Ten Thousand Years of Solitude 
  The Fire in the Waters
  Records of our lives
  Ask Krishna
  The Conductor of the dead
  A Wounded bird
  The riddle of Isha
  Patanjali's song
  The hidden path up the hill
  Inner Sarasvati
  Naming things
  On high desert
  A small beginning
  Seeking answers
  Nachiketa's dual
  Quantum implications
  Chance and necessity
  A Boy and his dog
  Book in pdf format

Koshur Music

An Introduction to Spoken Kashmiri



The Conductor of the dead


I am not what I look
I am my ghost. 

When I was dead
my soul was rejected
in heaven and hell
and finally driven
to the refuge of my bones. 


We are beautiful for we die
Once time had halted its flight
one moment was a thousand years
I was dust, O I was an idea
how I longed to be again in flesh
for I haven't felt enough
not enough
and when my frozen body thawed
with the stirrings of life
it was ecstasy. 


And speech was born of silence.
Freedom may be a prison
yet stillness does not revel
in stillness
does not revel
in the throbbings of a heart
but who wants beauty
so let me sing a song
let me roll a stone
let me chime a bell. 


I drink defeat everyday like my breakfast milk.
This morning when I awoke
blots of white sunlight dotted my room.
I scattered my night clothes all around my bed
yet the plates on the table
were neatly arranged
the furniture in the room
was all in its proper places
our house in the town was
I could not eat my breakfast. 


The birds fled when I came
I had no knife
and I offered seed with my hands
the birds still kept away
and my arms got tired and I let go.
The scattered grain sprouted plants
with little white flowers---
what a harvest of lilies. 


The last phoenix
sailed serenely to the fire
to burn
to turn into ashes
and rise again
youthful and chaste. 

As it neared the fire and closed
its eyes for the plunge
it felt itself rudely swept
away--its throat firmly squeezed
that sure was no rebirth--
someone had cut its wings. 

The phoenix still lies
at the same place
unmoving, unfeeling
not alive, nor dead
its life is in its eyes
that slowly move
and scan the skies. 

The fire nearby
is long extinguished. 


I sat on the railing
warming my bones in the winter sun.
On my eyelashes the sunbeams broke
into a million gossamer globes
and soon ants were crawling all over the place. 

They came floating in
like the fragrance of death
and ate through my desires.



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